School Effects on Socio-emotional Development, School-Based Arrests, and Educational Attainment (WP-20-06)
Kirabo Jackson, Shanette Porter, John Easton, Alyssa Blanchard, and Sebastián Kiguel
Using value-added models, the researchers find that high schools impact students’ self-reported socioemotional development (SED) by enhancing social well-being and promoting hard work. Conditional on schools’ test score impacts, schools that improve SED reduce school-based arrests, and increase high-school completion, college-going, and college persistence. Schools that improve social well-being have larger effects on attendance and behavioral infractions in high school, while those that promote hard work have larger effects on GPA. Importantly, school SED value-added is more predictive of school impacts on longer-run outcomes than school test-score value-added. As such, for the longer-run outcomes, using both SED and test score value-added more than doubles the variance of the explained school effect relative to using test score value-added alone. Results suggest that adolescence can be a formative period for socioemotional growth, high-school impacts on SED can be captured using self-report surveys, and SED can be fostered by schools to improve longer-run outcomes. These findings are robust to tests for plausible forms of selection.
This paper has been published in American Economic Review: Insights.